Members of the OAA family participate in a climate change forum in Budapest today at the World Championships. All three regions of Oceania were represented on the panel and explained their own challenges with climate change. The Oceania federations, through not fault of their own, are being effected by climate change.
You can watch the full forum below or by clicking here.
Simone Fa’eo, President Athletics Cook Islands, in the Pacific, has a population of around 17000 people. Seven of the islands are effected by low level attols. Coral has been effected and entire marine system has been effected. Tourism is the main industry and the black pearl industry has been devastated, leaving tourism as main industry. Cook Islands has department of climate change, which sits in the Prime Minister’s department. There is a need to ensure the old traditions is married with the new technology to prove food.
Niuone Eliuta, Vice President Tuvalu Athletics Association, discussed the challenges of the rising waters and the effect on facilities or lack on in Tuvalu… Tuvalu is a beautiful island nation located in the South Pacific. Because it is a low-lying attol made of coral, 3-4 metres above sea level. The most vulnerable industry is the fishing. Land is fading away because of the rising sea level. Climate change has a direct effect on migration in Tuvalu, young people want to leave the Island. If you leave your home, you lose your identity and culture. The current Tuvalu government does not advocate for migration, whilst The ministry of education is trying to get the message to young people, to live in a healthy and sustainable community. In Tuvalu, they face the same issues as the other islands in losing athletes.
Rusila Tekamotiata, President of Kiribati Athletics Association, advised the challenges around facilities, not enough land to build a track, and the expenses associated with building facilities on remote islands. Kiribati is where the sun rises first. Isla ds of Kiribati are really small. You can see the ocean from both sides of the island. The land has been eroded. Climate change ve is now included in the school curriculum, so children know the effects of climate change.
How can we adapt to keep on living in Kiribati? There are difficulties in trying to grow food crops. How do they better grow food – food security is very important.
Vanuatu is one of the highest risk islands to live, earthquakes, cyclones, etc. Vanuatu has experienced different issues, with cyclones becoming more fierce over the years, which have caused increasing damage. What role can sport and athletes play to curb climate changes. Vanuatu are ceasing using plastic, they can’t dispose of rubbish. The cost of facilities is huge and when they deteriorate after two years, the facilities cannot be replaced.
Everyone needs to do something on a day to day basis to stop the effects of climate change.
Samoa is a beautiful country, nine islands, 4 inhabited. Jerry Brunt, President Athletics Samoa, talked about the effect of cylones and earthquakes and tsunamis. The government is trying to reclaim land that has been eroded over the years. Jerry is also a member of the Samoa NOC and spoke about the impact of climate change on all sports.
All panel members discussed the resilience of Pacific Island people.
Thanks to Bob Ramsak, head of Sustainability, World Athletics, for bringing the group together to highlight the challenges for our islands of the Pacific.